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Vietnam & US mark dioxin remediation at Danang Airport

Released at: 14:54, 10/11/2017

Vietnam & US mark dioxin remediation at Danang Airport

Photo: The US Embassy

Former Bien Hoa Airbase in Dong Nai province, the largest dioxin hot spot in the country, the next area of cooperation between the two sides.

by My Van

The US’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon Jr. joined Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Phuong Nam, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Army of Vietnam, in a ceremony on November 9 marking the successful joint project to remediate dioxin at Danang Airport. 

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of National Defense first launched the project in 2012, which culminated in the treatment of more than 90,000 cu m of contaminated material and another 60,000 cu m of lower risk material. 

Mr. Shannon said the Danang Airport project stands as a symbol of the growing US-Vietnam partnership and demonstrates how both countries can turn past issues of contention into new areas of cooperation. He added that the remediation project has enabled the city of Da Nang to build an airport extension that will bring new prosperity and growth.

In anticipation of President Donald Trump’s visit to Vietnam, Mr. Shannon announced that the US is committed to contributing to joint US-Vietnam dioxin remediation efforts at the former Bien Hoa Airbase in southern Dong Nai province. A 2016 US-Vietnam joint environmental assessment found that the volume of dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa makes it the largest dioxin hot spot in Vietnam, highlighting the significance of this next area of cooperation. 

As the US and Vietnam close the door on a painful wartime legacy and open the door to a new era of partnership, Mr. Shannon and Lieutenant General Nam said that the people of the US and Vietnam will cross the threshold together into a shared future of prosperity and peace.

At the request of the Vietnamese Government, the US Government agreed to complete the environmental remediation at Danang Airport, which had high dioxin concentrations in soil and sediment remaining from the American War.

In 2010, USAID completed an environmental assessment of Danang Airport that estimated the volume of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment and evaluated multiple remediation strategies.

In 2011, USAID and the Ministry of National Defense agreed to jointly implement the Danang Airport Remediation Project, to clean up the dioxin contamination and eliminate the risk of dioxin exposure to the surrounding community, while developing Vietnam’s capacity in environmental assessment and remediation activities.

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